North Moore Topples East Montgomery
Jon Spivey hit two solo home runs, and the North Moore Mustangs baseball team rallied for a 6-5 win over East Montgomery Wednesday in the Yadkin Valley Conference opener for both teams.
"I am just glad to do my part to help the team win," Spivey said.
Trailing 5-4 with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Mustang senior Lyle Barnett tied the score with one swing. He belted a Zach Bramblett pitch over the left-center field fence.
"I was just trying to get a base hit," Barnett said.
Spivey made it back-to-back when he blasted his second homer of the game, giving the Mustangs a 6-5 lead.
"We got a couple of balls up (in the strike zone) and they made us pay for that," East Montgomery head coach Sean Hassell said.
Spivey said hitting the game-winning home run was the furthest thing from his mind.
"I was scared I would strike out," he said. "After I hit the first one (homer) I was hoping people weren't expecting me to do it again. It was a good pitch, I just put a good swing on it."
With a one-run lead, freshman pitcher Rider Maness and the Mustang defense did the rest, allowing only one base runner over the final three innings.
Maness, who entered the game with a runner on and no one out in the fourth inning, pitched four hitless innings, walked two and struck out five to earn his first career win.
East took a 3-0 lead after the top of the first.
Matthew Reynolds led off the game with a single of Mustang starter Shad Painter. Eddie Kellum plated Reynolds with a one-out double. Kevin Bennett made it 2-0 when he singled in Kellum. Painter struck out Michael Everette for the second out. He induced a sharp grounder to third off the bat of Kyle Kennedy, but an errant throw allowed Kennedy to reach first and Bennett to advance to third. Bennett scored the final run of the inning on the back end of a double steal before Painter struck out Garrett Hassell to end the inning.
The Mustangs answered in the bottom of the first.
Lead-off hitter Spivey hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall off right-hander Glendon Mabe.
Cody Johnson singled, and advanced to third on back-to-back ground outs. Dustin Martin drew a walk bringing Maness to the plate. He lined a one-hop grounder past the third base bag, driving in Johnson and pinch runner Colton Maness, tying the score, 3-3.
The Eagles took a 4-3 led in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Mabe.
Hassells pushed the lead to 5-3 in the top of the third when he singled in Everette from second base.
The Mustangs halved the lead in the fourth, but missed a chance to tie the game.
Tyler Wallace doubled to start the inning. Two outs later Rider Maness drove him in with a single up the middle. After a hit batter put two on, Eagle catcher Dustin McCallum attempted to pick the runner off first base. The throw sailed high and deflected off first-baseman Bennett's glove and into the outfield. Maness rounded third and tried to score, but was throw out at home.
In the fourth it was the Eagles' turn to run themselves out of an inning.
Rider Maness replaced starting pitcher Shad Painter after a lead off walk to Maynor. Maynor stole second and then with one out, was caught off second base on Mabe's grounder to shortstop. The Mustangs executed the run down and tagged Maynor near the third base bag for the second out of the inning. On the play, Mabe advanced to second. A walk to Kellum and a passed ball put runners on second and third. But Maness ended the threat by striking out Bennett swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
The Mustangs ran themselves out of another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and third and one out, the Mustangs attempted a squeeze. The Eagles were ready and caught the runner at third in a rundown for the second out of the inning. The runner on first got caught between second and third and was tagged out after a short rundown to end the inning.
The Eagles got a leadoff man on in the seventh, but Maness got a ground out, a strikeout and a infield pop out to end the game.
The win was special to first-year head coach Reynolds, who came to North Moore from East Montgomery.
"It was bitter sweet," Reynolds said. "I coached a lot of those guys in middle school, and I still want them to do well."
But after a moment to talk about his former players, Reynolds quickly refocused on his current team, which is scheduled to host conference foe South Davidson today.
"Everybody did their job out there and we won as a team, but like I told our guys it's just one win and if they are happy with one win, we will turn our uniforms in tomorrow and not worry about the rest of the season."
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2477 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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